Mainstream Media Thinks Virginity is a Shameful Status, Not a Sacred Choice
Some of the criticisms the author of this piece levels at secular culture should also be applied to Christian culture – Christians too uphold the stereotypes that one does not become a full fledged adult until one gets married and has sex. Hollywood just ditches the “get married first” aspect and goes right to the sex, but neither view is biblical, true, or right.
- SPECIES: The Virgin (Sexus Nontilnuptials)
PREDATOR: The Media (Sexus Perpetual Obsessicus)
METHOD OF ATTACK: Exploitation and Extinction
Peer through a leafy curtain deep in the Amazon and you might just catch a glimpse of an elusive specimen: “the virgin.”
Though rare, this foreign species manages to survive in some of the world’s most hostile ecosystems, constantly threatened by its natural enemy, the media. The media preys upon virgins for profit and mere entertainment – to dismiss them as soon as they conform.
Seen through the field glasses of Hollywood’s “Very Good Girls,” or MTV’s “Virgin Territory,” the virgin differs from “the human.” Humans “come-of-age” and “find themselves.” Virgins resist the examples of oversexed celebrities and an instant gratification culture – enhancing their mysterious allure, and making them just plain weird.
Here are the 10 ways media treat virgins as a foreign species:
1. Virgins Never Grow-Up
“Very Good Girls” stars Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as best friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before heading off to college. Opening in theaters July 25, the film bills itself (with some help from the media) as a “coming-of-age” story. As the trailer revealed: “When we lose our innocence, we have to find ourselves” – sounds like a story that every adult can relate to (right?).
“It’s a part of life,” Fanning said in an interview after stripping for her first sex scene. Boyd Holbrook, who played her partner, emphasized, “What this film’s about is going into life, this first sexual experience.”
The media provided back-up. “It’s this coming-of-age story of two young girls” that’s “dealing with those things that are universal, that we all deal with: friendship, family, death, love, heartbreak,” HuffPost Live Host Alyona Minkovski gushed during an interview with the writer and director, Naomi Foner.
Similarly, Wall Street Journal Live Anchor Tanya Rivero praised the “beautiful film.” “You explore that time in a young woman’s life, between girlhood and becoming a woman,” she told Foner. “As a woman, I identified so closely with the characters and that period in life.”
Even Foner described her characters as, “serious, interesting, committed girls who are trying to make some decisions about how they become women.” Women will flock to see the film, she added, because they “don’t often see themselves with any reality on screen.”
Missing is any acknowledgement that girls may become women without the sex act, or that it just might be a good idea wait until marriage.
2. Virgins Occupy a Different Habitat
…But how exactly surprising?
Fox News’ Dr. Keith Ablow criticized how the show, “turns a personal life event into profit” while Variety’s Brian Lowry warned in his review that, “some networks will pimp kids out — under cover of sex education — to score ratings.”
Even Slate’s TV critic, Willa Paskin, argued that the show “tries to get into psychological explanations for all of this unwanted virginity, because like the participants’ friends, MTV thinks it’s weird.” She explained, “Watching these three fret about their sexual status, I was reminded of the stress of being a pubescent girl who gets her period late: Until it arrives, you are embarrassed that you don’t have it.”
Case in point: 23-year-old Lisa saves herself until marriage in the first episode, and disappears as soon the wedding night is over. New York Times’ Jon Caramanica wondered “So it’s tough to know if that means that, in the eyes of the show, she accomplished the goal, or that she’s no longer interesting. Is it a high-five or a judgment?”
3. They Morph …
The transition from virgin to human fascinates media chroniclers, so they dwell on how celebrities, America’s most famed, lose virginity – and point out the ones who don’t, including:
The Huffington Post: “Celebrities Reveal What Age They Were When They Lost Their Virginity”
News.com: “Celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Russell Brand reveal how they lost their virginity”
Perez Hilton: “18 Celebrities Reveal The Awkward and SeXXXy Ways They Lost Their Virginity!”
Pop Crush: “How Old Were These Celebrities When They Lost Their Virginity?”
VH1: “Stars Reveal How They Lost Their V-Cards”
Buzzfeed: “11 Honest Quotes From Celebrities On Losing Their Virginity ‘Late’”
Cosmo: “V Card Confessions”
As if that wasn’t enough, the media want to hit celebrity replay: In “Losing Your Virginity,” John Stamos (“Full House”) interviewed celebrities about their “first time.” While he wants to avoid graphic content in his Yahoo! webseries, Stamos confessed, “We’re going to do re-enactments (of celebrity first sexual experiences) with puppets, Barbies, animation.”
… 5. Virgins Can Use Their Status as a Bargaining Chip
Media latched on to 23-year-old Nigerian pop star Adokiye after she offered her virginity to Islamist group Boko Haram in exchange for the more than 200 girls kidnapped in April. To introduce the story, NBC prompted, “Haven’t heard of Adokiye? Well, soon you will have” – if not as a rising star, then “because she’s a virgin.” Time, New York Post, New York Daily News, Daily Mail andInternational Business Times also noted the story.
6. Virgins Make for Good Comedy
Dan Beers and Mathew Harawitz’s “Premature” hit select theaters July 2 and tells the story of a high school senior who “re-live[s] losing his virginity over and over again until he gets it right.”
7. Virgins May be the Product of Human Rights Violation
When Canadian teenager Emily Dawson fought tooth and nail against an abstinence class taught at her public high school, the media recognized her bravery. Dawson’s name appeared everywhere, in outlets including Jezebel, Salon, Cosmo, CBC News, New York Daily News, ThinkProgress, Huffington Post Canada, The National Post, and CBC News.
Providing more detail, The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti wrote “Abstinence sex education doesn’t work. It teaches lies to ill-informed virgins” to explain, “Dawson and her mother were right to report her religious sex-ed class as a human rights violation – because that’s exactly what it is.” “Teens – whether you like the idea of them having sex or not – deserve access to information that can keep them healthy and safe,” she continued. “Anything else is criminal.”
Salon’s Jenny Kutner agreed, “In addition to being considered inaccurate and ineffective, abstinence-only sex education might also be considered a violation of basic human rights.”
8. Virgins Pledging their Beliefs Hurt Others
Both Salon and New York Magazine highlighted a recent study on virginity pledges, claiming they “don’t work” and added as an afterthought “Unless you’re super religious” (which no one is, right?). (Link): New York Daily News, Daily Mail, Bustle and Mic.com also stressed the findings.
The study (Link): found “when religious commitment is high, adherence to the pledge is greater,” while “for pledge signers with low religious commitment, there are unintended negative consequences with regard to increased participation in risky sexual behaviors.”
“Surprise! Morality-based abstinence education only works for people with those beliefs (and it harms everyone else),” Salon’s Jenny Kutner translated.
9. Virgins Will Only Become Rarer
A new (Link): study published in March from the University of Illinois about the loss of virginity found that “Men reported more pleasure and anxiety than women, and women reported more guilt than men. Anxiety decreased over the three decades for men; pleasure increased and guilt decreased for women.”
But not until the end of July did the media latch onto the news, translating the findings into headlines like (Link): “Losing Your Virginity Is Better Than Ever” (TIME Magazine), and (Link): “Losing your virginity isn’t as awkward as it was 20 years ago” (Salon) or even “Losing Your Virginity Is Way Less Awkward Than it Used to Be, Says Study” (Bustle).
10. Virgins are Embarrassing
Media went on the prowl when conservative commentator and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder wrote about his wedding night – after saving himself for marriage. “If you’re wondering whether all of the mocking, the ridicule, the incredible difficulty of saving yourself for your spouse is worth it, let me tell you without a doubt that it is,” he wrote in his (Link): post-marriage piece.
Along with others, Jezebel [secular left wing site] “barfed” at the piece.
Using a slightly different tactic, the media recently ignored CBS host and “Inside Edition” correspondent Megan Alexander as she explained her logic in remaining a virgin until marriage. Besides Inside Edition, only conservative media appeared to report the story: (Link): Fox 411, LifeSiteNews, LifeNews, Christian Post, The Blaze, (Link): CBN.
Alexander explained to Fox 411: “Sex is everywhere, it sells. It’s on magazine covers, it’s in television shows, it’s in movies and I think its pretty unusual when someone speaks out about waiting for marriage in the entertainment industry.”
(Link): Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals”
(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified